He would die. His disease would progress and he would die and they both knew it. It was heartbreaking, she thought, to find love when it was already too late make a life together.
“I know it’s incredibly unfair to you,” he said, “but I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m in love with you. I’m not even sure if I should have told you. I’m so sorry.”
Her throat caught and tears escaped to her cheeks while her hands clutched the forgotten tubes of blood, she had drawn moments before. He was so young and so sick. This was not how she had expected to find love.
“I’m sorry.” he repeated, lamely. He wished he hadn’t spoken up so awkwardly. Maybe it hadn’t been the right thing to do. “Forget I said that. Go ahead and label my blood and we’ll pretend it never happened…”
“Please?” he asked in response to her silence.
“I don’t want to forget it. I feel something too. It’s just… I wish it was different…”
“You mean you wish I wasn’t dying? Yeah. Me too.”
Her tears came faster.
“I’m so sorry. It wasn’t fair to put that on you. I convinced myself that it would be better for you if you knew but…” He swallowed and dropped his head. He wanted to wipe her tears away but he didn’t know if she would want him to. The silence settled like a weight on his broken body. He had to explain. He had to make this right somehow. “It was selfish. I wanted to feel this. I wanted to love you before I died but it’s not fair. I should have kept it friendly.”
“No. No you shouldn’t have. You were right. I would’ve wondered. I’m glad I know.”
“I’m not asking you to act on it. I hope you know that. I really have just enjoyed talking to you, being your friend. I mean I know it’s been professional on your part but I feel like we’re friends. I don’t really hang out with a lot of people these days. It’s so awkward with my old friends. They don’t know how to handle this but with you… it’s been really nice. Talking to you makes me feel normal somehow. It doesn’t have to mean anything.”
She took a shaky breath. “It does mean something. I don’t exactly know what but I like being around you too. I look forward to seeing you every week. In fact… ” she stammered nervously but reminded herself how short his time was and gathered her courage, “In fact, I feel my heart leap a little when you walk through the door.” She said it fast. It felt like pulling a band aid off her heart. It was the best she could do in that moment.
“What now then?” He asked.